TAKING ACTION: Renter's rights for repairs

Posted at 7:52 PM, Mar 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-10 23:45:51-05

Erica Rogers rental trouble started months ago.

Her toilet backs up into the tub leaving her to clean raw sewage out of the tub before she baths her children.

This single mom says she repeatedly called the property manager over a period of months to fix the problem, then came the final straw.

Rogers received a boil water notice notifying her, the drinking water contained E. coli. She contacted me. I reported her living conditions to Hillsborough County Code Enforcement.

The inspection report documented a non-working toilet, sewage backing up into the children's tub and contaminated water. Four days later the case went before the Hillsborough Code Board.

The landlord Debra Fountain assured the board the repairs had been made. Rogers confirmed the maintenance man installed a new toilet and fixed the plumbing since our call and code enforcement's visit. Most importantly they treated the well which means it is now safe for her and her children to drink.

Like so many others, Rogers did not realize she had a legal right to those repairs or know the steps she needed to take to get help.

To ensure your renter’s rights:

#1 Put all repair requests in writing

#2 Contact code enforcement

#3 Use Florida's landlord tenant law is a guide

By law, renters have the right to a property that meets basic living standards and they have a right to repairs in a reasonable time frame.

Here’s a link to Florida’s landlord tenant law.